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Read This Before Considering First Financial Northwest, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFNW) For Its Upcoming 0.7% Dividend

Simply Wall St

Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see First Financial Northwest, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFNW) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 5th of September, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 20th of September.

First Financial Northwest's next dividend payment will be US$0.09 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.36 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, First Financial Northwest has a trailing yield of approximately 2.6% on its current stock price of $13.72. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

View our latest analysis for First Financial Northwest

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. That's why it's good to see First Financial Northwest paying out a modest 33% of its earnings.

When a company paid out less in dividends than it earned in profit, this generally suggests its dividend is affordable. The lower the % of its profit that it pays out, the greater the margin of safety for the dividend if the business enters a downturn.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

NasdaqGS:FFNW Historical Dividend Yield, August 31st 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Readers will understand then, why we're concerned to see First Financial Northwest's earnings per share have dropped 7.4% a year over the past five years. Such a sharp decline casts doubt on the future sustainability of the dividend.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 10 years, First Financial Northwest has lifted its dividend by approximately 0.6% a year on average.

Final Takeaway

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid First Financial Northwest? Earnings per share have shrunk noticeably in recent years, although we like that the company has a low payout ratio. This could suggest a cut to the dividend may not be a major risk in the near future. We're unconvinced on the company's merits, and think there might be better opportunities out there.

Ever wonder what the future holds for First Financial Northwest? See what the four analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.